February 10, 2014

Crisis: Snowden, Economy, Pills, Personal

   "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone.
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton

crisis -Next  

Snowden Used Cheap, 'Web Crawler' Software to Collect
     NSA Files

Trickle Down Economics Is Working! (If You're Doing The

3. 'A Pill for Every Ill'
4.  Personal

About ME/CFS


This is the crisis issue of today's Nederlog, but there wasn't much: two items on the crisis, and one on health. This is not my fault: I check every day over 30 internet addresses, and I report what I find on the crisis (if it seems to make sense, and also sometimes if not), but this is what I found today. (And there also is a very brief personal section.)

1. Snowden Used Cheap, 'Web Crawler' Software to Collect NSA Files

First, an article by the Common Dreams staff on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:

Whistleblower Edward Snowden who alerted the world to America’s out of control National Security Agency reportedly used cheap and widely available software to scoop up thousands of files on the NSA’s online activities.

The New York Times Sunday quoted a senior US intelligence officials as saying: “We do not believe this was an individual sitting at a machine and downloading this much material in sequence,”adding that the process was “quite automated.”

The spider can be programmed to jump from website to website following embedded links and copying everything in its way. Snowden reportedly set the right algorithm for the software that indicated subjects and how far it was to follow the links. The whistleblower was reportedly able to gain access to 1.7 million files, including NSA’s internal “wiki" materials that are used to share data across the world.
Yes, that seems at least likely: the point, after all, is having the permission(s), and these Snowden had. And downloading a reported 1.7 million files by hand is a very long affair.

There is also this from Snowden, that seems quite justified to me:
Through his lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, Mr. Snowden did not specifically address the government’s theory of how he obtained the files, saying in a statement: “It’s ironic that officials are giving classified information to journalists in an effort to discredit me for giving classified information to journalists. The difference is that I did so to inform the public about the government’s actions, and they’re doing so to misinform the public about mine.”
The rest of the article is about tomorrow, which is the day
thousands of websites will take a stand against government surveillance by plastering protests across their home pages.
I hope it will succeed, but I am not confident.

2. Trickle Down Economics Is Working! (If You're Doing The Trickling)

a video by The Young Turks:

This takes 11 minutes and is mainly about this graphic:
What it shows is the results of a study done at Stanford University on incomes from 1967 till 2012, and specifically about the percent changes for the five groups of adjusted household incomes.

What you see is three things (mainly):

First, from 1968 to 1978 these changes were about the same.
Second, around 1978, because of two Supreme Court decisions, the changes started to change.
Third, since 1978 the richest have become a lot richer; the richest group but one have remained the same or become slightly less; while the remaining 60% have gotten a lot poorer.

Of course, you have to believe this is good research, but it seems fair enough to me. There is also this in the video:

That is not a lot of money, for the majority of the US population.

Conclusion: The US economy is not trickling down,
from the rich to the poor; in fact, it is trickling up, from the poor to the rich. That is, the money the poorest 60% have lost, through getting no increases in their salaries for nearly forty years has nearly all gone to the richest, who also tend to pay a lot less in taxes.

3. 'A Pill for Every Ill' 

Next, an article by John Ericson in Newsweek:
This starts as follows:
If there were fewer possible psychiatric diagnoses, would fewer people consider themselves ill? A growing number of health experts suspect that psychiatric care is drifting toward "diagnostic inflation," in which the rate of mental disorders balloons as a result of new diagnoses - and not due to an increasingly troubled population. What's worse is that this process may be fueled by the very document that is supposed to control it.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a 1,000-page behemoth that is now in its fifth edition, gives researchers and clinicians across the country a common language for discussing the ins and outs of a mind that is not well, ideally allowing everyone to agree on who is and isn't ill. The manual is produced by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Well, having studied the matter since 2010, and having written over 100 articles (Nederlogs) on the topic, and being a psychologist and a philosopher, which means among other things that I can judge the pretensions of psychiatrists rationally, and also that I do not have a motive to shield them or their incomes, I'd say that the answer to the question in the first paragraph is quite clearly yes.

Also, for me the psychiatric brotherhood is fraudulent, and always was fraudulent, because they pretended to have cures and diagnoses that were not based on real science. They never were, and they still aren't, for there simply is not sufficient knowledge of the brain to explain why and how people do get mad or neurotic. Period. [2]

This was so from Freud onwards till Laing, through all of the many varieties of psychiatry, and from then on it only got worse: psychiatry did become very fraudulent from the DSM-III onwards, when they discovered that a mere book of purported "diagnoses" of what they call "disorders" (because there rarely is any recognized disease present!), for which they do not have any fact-based theory to support them in nearly all cases, which makes it definitely and totally non-scientific, also got accepted by the majority of the population, indeed just as the majority accepts religion.

Also, there is dr. Alan Frances, who once again makes himself quite ridiculous. What he wants you and me and the readers of Newsweek to believe is this - and I have read this at least three times now:
"(..) I know the people working on the DSM-5, and I think they've made simply terrible decisions, but that they've done it with pure heart."
That is: the nearly 30.000 American psychiatrists and ca. 5 big American pharmaceutical corporations, who together make literally billions of dollars in profit a year on a single patented medicine, that in any case of psychiatric medicines is only patented because it is a slightly altered form of some drug that already was there 25 or more years ago (!), are so incredibly non-profit oriented, and so totally blind to their own monetary advantages, that all these billions they make through their diagnoses and their prescriptions can be explained - if you believe dr. Alan Frances - as being due to the extremely "pure hearts" of a couple of leading psychiatrists, who went into medicine anyway to make money, for that is why people work [3], and who made these extra diagnoses, all of which come with very expensive patented pills simply because... they have "pure hearts" and were not blinded by their desires to make another billion or three, collectively, but - I quote - because they "were blinded by their desires to help "the missed patient" - the individual in pain".

O Lord! Well, personally I - a livelong atheist - believe that I become a Catholic who believes that 3=1 before I believe a completely crapulous story like this.

Then again, you are completely free to believe your psychiatrists and your priests, who all want you to believe that they - unlike everybody else - work out of the pure goodness of their pure disinterested hearts to help you
[3], much rather than for the very great amounts of money they make with it.

I stick with H.L. Mencken:
It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.
4. Personal

This is another file that is over 30 Kb, apart from the illustrations, so I take it I have done my work again for this day. If there is tomorrow as little, I will write about something else.


[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, thay the governors do not rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
It is more proper that law should govern than any of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servant of laws.
(And I note the whole file I quote from is quite pertinent.)

[2] This simply is a fact. There is also nothing blameworthy about it: We know very much less than we desire to know.

What is blameworthy, and very much so in my opinion, is to pretend knowledge that you ought to know you do not have, merely to be able to make money that way. That is the way of religion, and that is the way of psychiatry, and I for my part believe that mankind would be a lot better of without either.

I also believe that psychologists, although they know as little as psychiatrists, are who you should turn to if you have psychological problems, which I agree do occur, and occur rather often (though not as detailed in any DSM, which is also what most psychologists do not believe: the DSM is merely a bag of tricks to help psychiatrists sell drugs, and has no real scientific validity of any kind, with its over 400 "disorders", nearly all imaginary, at least as defined, so far as I can see).

And I do not say this because I am a psychologist (for I do not believe psychology is a real science either, for the most part), but because I know that psychologists listen better and have no power to lock you up, nor are they in an evil but very profitable tie with major pharmaceutical companies, simply because psychologists cannot prescribe drugs.

That they cannot lock you up and cannot prescribe medicines is very much more as it should be, and these are my main reasons to recommend psychologists very much more than psychiatrists - though I should add that "the buyer ought to beware", and there so far really is very little knowledge of how the brain produces its many miracles.

[3] There really is a lot to notion that psychiatrists are much more like priests (who can help to lock you up and force medicines into you, which priests aren't) than like real scientists, and one of their many common points is that both pretend to be better than ordinary men, either because "they are analysed" or because they are "accepted as priests", and to work out of the goodness of their hearts rather than to make money. Well, I for my part believe none of their theories, whether religious or psychiatric, and I am certain that they "are only in it for the money" (Zappa), indeed also with a very few exceptions in both cases.

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komarof

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)[2]

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm
Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

       home - index - summaries - mail